Explore The Red Planet On Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator

Have you ever wondered how astronauts explore the rugged landscapes of Mars? 

See MRVN, the Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator, inside the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which appears to be something straight out of a science fiction movie.

This six-wheel monster is an advanced prototype Mars rover vehicle with an impressive design and the capability to run on Mars’ dunes and rocks. 

Its wide wheels highlight its ability to walk on challenging Martian terrain, including soil, dunes, and rocks. 

It offers visitors a glimpse into the exciting future of Mars exploration. 

What are Mars Rovers?

Mars Rovers
Image: Kennedyspacecenter.com

A Mars rover is a remotely controlled vehicle intended for surface travel on Mars.

Rovers have several advantages, including exploring larger areas, navigating to interesting features, positioning themselves, and having remote robotic vehicle control.

Where is the Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator Located?

Visitors can get a close look at and observe the design of the Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator at the NASA Now+Next Building inside KSC.

MRVN falls under the KSC Explore Attractions and Be Inspired program.

A ten-minute visit to explore this NASA technology is included with the admission tickets.

Visitors can see the Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator with their own eyes and feel the thrilling NASA science. 

You can also get close to the MRVN and observe the design by purchasing the KSC admission ticket.

Significance of Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator 

Mars Rovers significance
Image: Kennedyspacecenter.com

Engineered by Parker Brother Concepts of Port Canaveral, Florida, MRVN is a NASA-approved design.

MRVN represents NASA’s vision for the next generation of Mars exploration. 

Creators believe the next generation could travel and work in a high-tech mobile laboratory similar to this rover vehicle.

The Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator is an educational tool at Kennedy Space Center.

Features of Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator

The Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator is eleven feet tall and weighs around 5,000 pounds—akin to a pickup truck.

The vehicle is built with aluminum and carbon fiber for safety in Mars’ harsh conditions.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the MRVN is its six 50-inch-tall, 30-inch-wide wheels.

The six spherical wheels are designed to travel over uneven terrain, such as craters and rocks.

The vehicle has two parts:

MRVN: Front Part

MRVN Front Part
Image: Kennedyspacecenter.com

The front part of the Mars Rover Concept Vehicle (MRVN) serves scouting purposes by moving around and exploring the Martian landscape. 

This section contains the driver’s seat of the rover, which is responsible for navigating the planet’s terrain. 

The front area has a radio and navigation system using the Global Positioning System (GPS).

It has an electric motor powered by solar panels and a 700-volt battery.

MRVN can achieve 60 to 70 mph speeds, though its exploration speed is intentionally set between 10 and 15 mph. 

High-Tech Detachable Lab inside MRVN 

Lab inside MRVN 
Image: Kennedyspacecenter.com

The rear section of MRVN is a detachable laboratory that serves as a hub for autonomous research, equipped with the latest technology and tools. 

It’s a high-tech mobile lab on wheels designed to facilitate scientific experiments and analysis on the Martian surface.

Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator: Concept or Reality?

The Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator, or MRVN®, is a concept vehicle created by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. 

It is not yet a reality but represents a potential future technology for exploring the Martian surface.

  • Concept stage: MRVN was unveiled in 2021 and is still in the concept stage.

    It is a design created to showcase potential advancements in rover technology for future missions.

  • Capabilities: MRVN is designed to be a mobile laboratory similar to the Perseverance rover currently exploring Mars.

    It could navigate rough terrain, collect samples, conduct experiments, and provide a safe haven for astronauts during future missions.

  • Development timeline: No timeline has been set for the development of MRVN.

    It will depend on funding, technological advancements, and future mission priorities.

As of May 2021, there have been six successful robotic Mars rovers.

The first five, which were all operated by the US NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, were 

  • Sojourner (1997), 
  • Spirit (2004–2010), 
  • Opportunity (2004–2018), 
  • Curiosity (2012–present), and 
  • Perseverance (2021–present

Zhurong is the sixth, run by the China National Space Administration (2021–2022).

The futuristic Mars rovers could incorporate many elements of this stunning MRVN machine.

Creators believe the next generation could travel and work in a high-tech mobile laboratory similar to this Mars rover navigator vehicle.

Other Attractions Inside NASA Now+ Next

 Deep Space Launch Complex

Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex

It is a recent addition to the complex, which features authentic spacecraft and prototypes from NASA and commercial partners.

Through immersive atmospheric effects and a motion theater experience, visitors see, hear, and feel what it’s like to travel in space.

You can look at today’s spacecraft and the visionary designs setting the way for human deep space travel.

Spaceport KSC

Spaceport KSC

At the Spaceport, visitors are transported to a futuristic airport with information about where spaceships are going.

Visitors board on “spaceships” in the form of a two-story motion theater and go on one of the four journeys offered.

The four journeys offered are named Cosmic Wonders, Red Planet, Daring Explorers, and Uncharted Worlds.

Journey to Mars

Journey to Mars

Ever wondered what it would be like to travel to Mars? You can experience it at the Journey to Mars exhibit at KSC.

This new exhibit can give you a sense of that reality by having you live in a tiny capsule and experience the hazards of space.

The multimedia exhibit also highlights what’s happening at NASA right now to explore deep space, including Mars.


1. What vehicles are used on Mars?

NASA has used robotic rovers on Mars, including Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance.

These vehicles are designed to explore and experiment to learn more about the Martian environment.

2. What is MRVN and its purpose?

The Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator is designed to explore and research Mars’ terrain.

Its purpose is to facilitate and enhance the exploration of Mars.

It is designed to navigate rovers across the Martian surface, enabling scientists and engineers to remotely control and guide these vehicles in their scientific missions.

The MRVN system ensures precise and effective movement, data collection, and analysis during Mars exploration missions.

3. What are the features of MRVN?

The MRVN has six large wheels for rough terrain, an electric motor powered by solar panels, and a detachable lab for autonomous research.

Its design incorporates advanced navigation algorithms and autonomous capabilities to navigate the challenging Martian terrain.

It is equipped with sensors, cameras, and communication systems.

MRVN enables real-time data collection, allowing scientists and engineers to remotely guide and control rovers on the Martian surface.

4. Do Mars rovers have GPS?

Mars rovers do not use GPS (Global Positioning System) as we do on Earth.

Instead, they rely on other navigation methods, such as celestial navigation and others, to determine their position and move across the Martian surface.

Featured Image: Nasa.gov

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